Effective Job Search Networking
The majority of available job positions are never even advertised. Reports suggest that at least 60% and sometimes more jobs are secured through networking. Most employers would rather hire someone they know than go through a lengthy search process. Networking is therefore probably the most important aspect of a job search.
There is a right way and a wrong way to network though. When you are asking for help or advice, don’t make it all about you. These connections are doing you a favor, so do it during a convenient time for them. Don’t make them come to you, but offer to meet them at their office or a place of their choice.
Quality is better than quantity. You should make this networking process personal. Choose the people you want to contact wisely. You should not be spamming every friend on social media or every person in your email address book. Similarly, being a serial social networker does not reflect positively on you. Instead of going to every career event and meeting, it would be better to get involved in one committee and form quality relationships. It is never appropriate to spam people you just met once at an event. Obviously connections can be made at these events, but do not take everyone’s business card to solicit a job.
Another common mistake is to read off of a script when networking. An elevator pitch is a short introduction, stating your qualifications and career plans. This is a vital statement that should be well thought out, but it should never sound rehearsed. You will need to change what you say depending on the position at hand. Make it natural, and you will be more likely to be considered.
Finally, don’t overstate your relationship with someone in the business. If you met someone once, or had a brief conversation, then don’t pretend as though he or she is your good friend. Deceitfulness will undermine you when they find out the truth. It helps to mention that you spoke to someone in the business or were referred to another contact, but be honest about the relationship.
Now that you know what not to do, focus on some things that you should do. Email is a good way to send out brief messages to reconnect with contacts. A short, personal message with correct grammar and spelling is the easiest method to start networking. You can also reach out to other alumni in your field or on the Internet through social media sites. Once you have made a connection, always send a thank-you. Even if they were not of help in your job search, it is a respectful way to thank them for taking the time to try to help you. Informational interviews may not get you a job directly, but they can point you in the right direction and give you referrals. Always keep track of the people you contact so that you can follow up and thank them afterwards. If you go about it in a respectful way, then there are sure to be people who are willing to help you in your job search.
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